Joy to the world
25th December 2004
Cordelia sat feeling overly full on her bed that evening. Altering a sweater she had bought the previous week. She had returned home in the early evening after having consumed a huge Christmas lunch with Lindsey, Darla, Gunn, Anne, Doyle and an arrived fresh from their honeymoon Wes and Faith.
It had been a wonderful Christmas lunch, the first on their new world. Fortunately Connor was not put out that Santa was dressed in red and white on this world, not green and white, he was too young to remember his previous Christmas.
The other weird occurrence that had reminded the refugees of the slight difference between their old world and the world they’d ended up in, happened when Lindsey had brought out his guitar to sing carols.
Darla had rolled her eyes patronizingly, but she did that every year. Anne had thought it was a great idea. Anne had no family she kept in contact with, and was used to spending her Christmas Eve and Day at this type of adult orphans gathering.
‘Silent night’ was sung by all parties happily. Followed by Jingle bells. Lindsey played Darla’s favorite carol the 'Holly and the Ivy', sung heartily by Darla, Wes and Doyle. The others weren’t so sure of the verses, but picked up the chorus easily.
Then Lindsey shooting a sly glance at Darla beforehand, and plucked out the first few chords of a tune. Cordelia and Doyle had burst out laughing in anticipation. Gunn frowned unamused.
Wes grinned. “I thought you’d want to keep it clean in front of your kid, McDonald.”
“What’s the song, pal?” Faith shrugged, raising her eyebrows at an equally puzzled Anne to confirm that ditty was indeed unrecognizable.
“Rudolph got laid off work.” Lindsey kept strumming his guitar. “You guys have never heard it before?”
It was one of those moments that were becoming less with every passing month, that reminded Cordelia she was not on her home world. She could never go back there. Groo was dead. She had to respect his memory and get on with living.
Cordelia went back to altering her sweater with renewed vigor, determined not to get down about it. Bennish had invited her to watch ‘It’s a wonderful life' with him in the living room in half an hour. He had spent Christmas Day at the Mallory house.
The doorbell rang, Cordelia heard Bennish answer it. Two minutes later a knock came at her door.
“Cordelia it’s me, Graham Miller.” Miller said outside her room.
“Hi.” Cordelia opened the door to him, curious as to why he had dropped by. She knew he lived with his elder divorced sister and her kids, two miles away from Cordelia’s house.
Miller held up her scarf to her. “You left this at the bar last night. I thought you might need it tomorrow.”
“Yeah, thanks.” Cordelia took it from him, “Hiding out from your nieces and nephew huh?”
“Completely, aren’t you gonna ask me to stay for a coffee or eggnog?” Miller seemed to fill her entire door frame, he was so tall and muscular.
“I guess I can put myself out like that.”
The movie was watched. Cordelia noticed a few script differences from her world. Bennish went to bed to read a book. Cordelia and Miller were left alone together in the living room, talking.
“So that guy has suffered no side effects of inhaling that goddess mummy dust?” Miller asked Cordelia, the second Bennish’s bedroom door closed.
“Nope, seems not. Fred Burkle is completely human like we told you. Went back to Texas to be with her folks, thank god. Because after what she pulled? Locking us in a room for a vamp to kill. Making Faith lose her slayer strength by injecting her with steroids, when Faith meditated on these purple crystals Fred got for her, during their lunch break.”
“Come again?” Miller leaned back in the armchair. “What are you talking about, is this the Cruciamentum Issue?”
“Yeah, Faith got her hair frizzed off a fight with a vamp. She didn’t like it short. So it was easy for Fred to give Faith a spell that really did make her hair grow. But at the same time Fred was injecting her with crap to make her lose her slayer powers. She got the recipe to do it out of the Watchers handbook. So even if Fred didn’t have a soul, none of us want to lay our eyes on her again. Apparently the Texan ho’s thinking of going to England, joining the Watchers Council, lucky them.” Cordelia stretched her legs out on the couch. Clicking off the television set.
“So is the New Watcher’s Council gonna send over more slayers to San Francisco? I mean it crawls with vampires and demons here.” Miller got up, exploring the room, pausing in front of a large bookshelf Bennish had against the main wall.
“What 'Frisco's got now is nada. When there were the two rival vampire cults here, who were expecting Connor to be found. And remember he must never know okay, that McDonald isn’t his Dad?”
“Never been big on shattering little kids illusions.” Miller pulled out a biography of Einstein from the bookshelf, flicking through it. “He’ll have to know sometime you know? Anyway, what about the cults?”
“They were advertising for fricking street kids to come here, to recruit them into their opposing ranks. But once their leaders were killed that stopped. Left the city with more than it’s fair share of vamps however. And as long as San Francisco has the best welfare handout policies in California, attracting countless homeless people. It’s gonna be a vamp, demon feeding ground.” Cordelia picked up a cushion, fiddling with it. “So constant work for us right? Job security plus.”
“So to come back to my earlier question, is the Council going to send over more slayers?” Miller held up the book. “Hey can I borrow this?”
“I’ll have to check with Bennish first sorry. Put it to one side and I’ll ask him tomorrow morning.” Cordelia put the cushion under her head. “Yeah, the Council, Harris said that two slayers plus Connor Reilly should be enough to handle all the vampires. He would.”
“You don’t like Harris much do ya? An impression I have.” Miller pulled out another book he wanted to borrow.
Cordelia grimaced. “No, on another world, Harris turned into my life threatening stalker. And I don’t care everyone tells me I’m being unreasonable about it. Enough shit has happened to me. Why take the risk y’know? Good luck to him and Eve, I wish her all the best. Smart move to get of the Watchers Council branch and work with us. That way if she breaks up with him, she doesn’t have to seem him again that often.”
Miller was interested to hear that. “So you think you should never risk office romance?”
“We don't live in fricking normal circumstances, Miller. I mean, what are the odds of any of us actually finding someone out there who can deal with the kind of supernatural crap we have to handle on a daily basis? Who else do you meet?” Cordelia got off the couch, going over to look at his book choices. “Why, what do you think?”
“I think it can work, if rules were put in place first.” Miller hesitated. “For instance, if I were to ask you out on a date. And it worked out for us after. We wouldn’t be all over each other in the back courtyard the next day like Wes and Faith. And if we broke up, hey you were there first, Cordelia, if it was a messy split I’d move on.”
“We wouldn’t be out in the courtyard anyway, neither of us smoke.” Cordelia gave a little smirk of satisfaction. “And of course Darla would kick you out over me anyday. So this date you’d ask me on, where to huh?”
“I thought if was to ask you out, dinner’s always good at a nice restaurant.” Miller reached out and grasped her hand. She was standing very close to him. “You allergic to anything?”
“Dinner sounds great and no, I’m not allergic to anything.” Cordelia let her free hand cover his. Her thumb creating small circles over the back of his hand. “You don’t have to take me out to dinner, before you kiss me you know. Try before you buy. I mean it might not be any good between us.”
“I think it’s gonna be.” Miller carefully bent his head to brush his lips against hers.
It was a whisper of a kiss that made Cordelia catch her breath. Wind her hands around his neck and press him down on her. Because she wanted more, more, more.
The effect of their bodies molding naturally together, combined with their mouths opening and slickly exploring the others, made Cordelia truly look forward to 2005.